JIS News

Minister of State for Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris, has said that the Ministry would be making submissions to Cabinet early next week for drafting instructions for the National Disability Act.
Senator Morris, who was speaking at open panel discussion on the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities yesterday (Dec.7) at the Norman Manley Law School, Mona, informed that he would sign off on the relevant documents in time for Cabinet’s perusal on December 12.
“Next week won’t pass before we submit the provisions to Cabinet so we can get drafting instructions for the Act,” Minister Morris informed.
The submission to Cabinet is seen as another major stepping stone towards achieving the passage of the National Disability Act, which, when enacted, would be a pioneering and ground breaking law for the disabled community.
“We recognize that we cannot be complacent and that development is work in progress and we recognize that we have to double our efforts,” Senator Morris noted.
Since the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities was instituted in 2000, Senator Morris noted that the Ministry and the disabled community, in particular the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, have been working assiduously to have the proposed Disability Act entrenched into law and during that time, the stakeholders have made tremendous strides into revisiting laws that cater to the needs of the disabled.
“The Ministry with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, has drafted and worked to establish the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities. We had the development of the Braille and large print system in the Ministry of Education (Youth and Culture) and we had legislation such as the Child Care and Protection Act, the Maintenance Act and the Criminal Justice Act reconsidered to make special mention of persons with disabilities,” he pointed out.
Senator Morris also highlighted and commended the work and provisions of the University of the West Indies (UWI) to meet the needs of disabled students. “The UWI has bought into the goal of empowering persons with disabilities with requisite facilities and the students help the disabled with their special needs. Jamaica is holding its own in terms of services with provisions for the disabled,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Public Relations Manager in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Gerry McDaniel, explained to JIS News that when the drafted Bill was ready, the Ministry would be seeking consultation with the disabled community before its enactment into law.
“We will be seeking consultation with at least four towns across the island in order to ensure the Act is inclusive and meet the needs of all disabled persons. We are looking at starting this process within the first quarter of the new year,” Mr. McDaniel outlined.
He also noted that the submission of the proposal to Cabinet for drafting instructions was “poetic justice” for the disabled community, which since 2000, has been looking to have the law ready to commemorate with the celebration of Disabilities Week, which began on December 4.